Thursday, December 19, 2019

It’s A Privilege

For many trans people “passing” is a privilege, for many of us we will never be able to integrate in to society.
I’m trans, but that doesn’t mean I want to “pass” as a woman
By Joan Westenberg
November 20, 2019

A few weeks ago, I was using the bathroom at a shopping centre. While I was washing my hands, a woman approached and confronted me, to say that I was in the wrong place. She said she knew what I was. She said everyone could tell. She wanted me to know that she had recognised me as transgender, as though it were some kind of dirty secret. The altercation didn't last long; I felt no need to argue with her, or to grant currency to her disgust by offering a response to it. I finished washing my hands, with a deliberate and extended ritual, and calmly left while she continued to berate me for my abnormal womanhood.

In truth, it was nothing unexpected, and nothing unusual. I’ve heard comments like that before; it’s a troll or a transphobe’s favourite strategy, to point out masculine aspects of my appearance, to other me, and to announce that I am not “fooling” anyone.

It appears as though people believe trans women want their transness to go unrecognised, as though our intention is to be seen as cis-gender (that is, non-transgender) women. They believe that our trans nature is a shameful and dirty secret, that must make us burn with embarrassment.
As a transgender woman, I do not look at myself, and see a cis-woman; for me personally, I have found that I do not want to. There are so many things about me that signify my trans nature - such as the traits that are traditionally masculine, that are pointed out and highlighted by trolls, from my shoulders to my jawline - but these are not signifiers of an absence of womanhood, merely of a different school or strand.
Many of us when we first coming out we dream of the “Gold Standard” being about to integrate in society where no one identifies us as being trans, but over time reality sets in that we will never reach those goals. I also realized that most people really don’t care how I looked, most people just want to buy their  groceries and get home to make dinner for their families.

I bought tons of makeup, dresses, high heels shoes and matching pocketbooks but as I got out and about I realized something, “dressed to the nines” made me stand out even more. In the supermarkets, in movie theaters, and at work most women don’t dress like that. Sure there are a few who do but most dress comfortably with sensible shoes.

I know many trans women who take voice lessons, and take classes on how to “present’ as a women, at onetime I was thinking taking them but then I got to thinking, for fifty years I pretended to be a man and I don’t want to pretend to be a woman… I just want to be myself.